When you think of vegetarian options the first you expect to see on the menu is a staple veggie burger, tofu stir-fry, or mac and cheese. All delicious options but they can get repetitive. People's view of a vegetarian diet might seem very limited in options, especially if you have no experience or knowledge about all the options out there.

For the vegetarians in the crowd or those who just enjoy meat-free options sometimes, you know there are so many great dishes to try and how easy it is to tweak a recipe to accommodate a meat-free option.

For those who are adventurous eaters and enjoy exploring new ethnic restaurants, you know all too well how you can discover amazing new dishes that you never knew existed. A lot of ethnic cuisine is centered on plant-based foods and you can manage to find some delicious veggie options for vegans and meat-lovers alike!

Here are the top 5 vegetarian dishes from around the world you need to try:

1. Indonesian: Gado gado

Gado-Gado in Indonesian literally translates to mix-mix. Gado-Gado comes in many variations as each region has their own take on the staple dish, but it always is filled with a variety of vegetables, such as potatoes, green beans, bean sprouts, spinach, carrots, and cabbage.

Tempeh (fermented tofu) and hard boiled eggs are also added and then everything is mixed with a delicious, sometimes spicy, aromatic peanut sauce. Usually, it is served with crispy fried crackers for dipping or to munch on. This is the perfect veggie-loaded, protein-rich dish that you will find on every Indonesian menu. 

2. Ethiopian: Yetsom Beyaynetu

Have you tried Ethiopian food before? If not, get yourself to an Ethiopian restaurant immediately as it is one of the most exciting cuisines in the world. The food itself is so flavourful but the culture around eating is what makes the entire experience so unique. Firstly, Ethiopian food is to be eaten with family and friends as it is served on communal platters, designed for food sharing.  

A mixed platter of different dishes is served on top of a huge piece of injera (spongy crepe-like staple food made from teff flour).  You use your hands to eat your meal so the injera bread is multi-purpose – your plate, your cutlery and your food! Ethiopian restaurants always have a large vegetarian section, Yetsom Beyaynetu being the vegetarian combination platter which may include: gomen (collard greens), shiro wat (chickpea curry) and misir wat (lentil stew). And you can't get a meal with better bang for your buck then this – a huge platter for two people will average $22.

3. Indian: Pindi 

You've likely heard of Chana Masala. Your classic Indian chickpea tomato-onion curry has a lesser-known cousin, Pindi Chana. The dishes don't look similar at all, as Pindi chana has a black/brownish colour. The dish is named after its city of origin, Rawalpindi, and differs in the way chickpeas are commonly cooked in Indian cuisine. It gets it black colour from being cooked in tea bags and it is served dry, without a gravy sauce.

4. Chinese: Xi Hong Shi Chao Ji Dan

This dish is a simple tomato and egg stir try. Think scrambled eggs with tomatoes. This is a classic homestyle Chinese dish that is served at the average Beijing family dinner table and is found in the school or work cafeteria. With the entire ingredient list being eggs, tomatoes, scallions, salt, oil and sugar, this recipe couldn't get any easier. It is incredibly quick and easy to make – sounds like Chinese is on the menu when you come home from class tonight!

5. Eygytian: Kushari

This Egyptian classic is a broke students dream. This is your ultimate carb-laden bowl of comfort food. No matter how empty your cupboards are, you will likely have the basic ingredients to throw together this authentic Middle Eastern dish. Kushari is the national dish of Egypt, you can find it served in every restaurant, home and at many street food stalls.

Kushari involves a mixture of rice, macaroni noodles, and lentils topped with a spicy tomato sauce and crispy onions. Sound like the dinner you threw together during midterm season? It is commonly known as a "poor man's dish" but loved by all. 

Delicious + inexpensive meal = a student's dream dinner.

So whether you are looking for new vegetarian meal options or just want to expand your palate and enjoy new foods, do your taste buds a favour and try a new ethnic restaurant or recipe.